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Detailed guide: Switzerland: providing services and travelling for business from 1 January 2021

The authoritative source for Swiss market regulations is the Swiss government. This guidance links to official Swiss sources wherever possible.

The UK has reached an agreement with the Swiss government which protects the rights of UK workers living in Switzerland, and of service providers with existing contracts.

Find out more about the Swiss Citizens’ Rights Agreement.

Swiss trade and services regulations

If you’re a UK business providing services in Switzerland, you’ll need to follow Swiss regulations about:

  • getting an authorisation or licence to provide a service
  • complying with local business regulations
  • EEA nationality requirements which could prevent you from providing services in some sectors

You may benefit from the part of the Swiss Citizens’ Rights Agreement which deals with service provision. This would apply to service provision contracts that have been agreed and where implementation has started before 1 January 2021.

Services Mobility Agreement

You may benefit from the Services Mobility Agreement (SMA) which allows UK professionals to provide services in Switzerland for up to 90 days without a work permit.

The SMA also establishes a working group, through which the UK and Switzerland aim to develop a comprehensive agreement on the recognition of professional qualifications for service suppliers working in each other’s markets.

Consider appointing an English-speaking lawyer in Switzerland to help you comply with specific regulations. You can also contact your local chamber of commerce for advice.

Ownership of companies registered in Switzerland

If you have a UK business, you might face restrictions on your ability to own, manage or direct a registered company in Switzerland.

Read more about this in our guidance relating to the EEA and Switzerland.

UK legal professionals who have investments in law firms in Switzerland should contact the Swiss Bar Association for information on implications on those investments.

Business travel and entry requirements

See the latest information on business travel to the EU from 1 January 2021.

The State Secretariat for Migration website has more information about:

  • visas including intra-corporate transfers
  • work and residence permits
  • supporting documentation
  • other conditions

Social security payments for employees

If you’re sending employees to Switzerland, they may need to make social security contributions in both the UK and Switzerland.

Recognition of professional qualifications

Find out if you need to take action by reading our general guidance relating to the EEA and Switzerland.

The Swiss Citizens’ Rights Agreement includes specific arrangements for the recognition of professional qualifications held by Swiss nationals and UK nationals.

You can read the Swiss Citizens’ Rights Agreement Explainer for more information.

If you need to take action to secure the recognition of your professional qualification in Switzerland, look at ENIC, the information centre for the academic and professional recognition of qualifications.

You can also contact UK NARIC, the national information centre for professional qualifications.

See also the Services Mobility Agreement which aims to develop a comprehensive agreement on the recognition of professional qualifications for service suppliers working in each other’s markets.

UK statutory auditors working in Switzerland

If you’re a UK statutory auditor working in Switzerland, your access to the audit profession will not be affected from 1 January 2021.

The Swiss competent authority should be able to provide further information.

UK lawyers working in Switzerland

If you’re a UK-qualified lawyer registered and working in Switzerland on a permanent basis, and under a UK title, you will continue to be able to practise while you remain registered in Switzerland.

If you’re not registered in Switzerland, UK-qualified lawyers have 4 years from 1 January 2021 to register or to start the application to register, to permanently work under a UK professional title, or to transfer or to start the process of transferring to a Swiss professional title.

If you’re a UK-qualified lawyer who has transferred to a Swiss-professional title before 1 January 2021, you will continue to have this transfer recognised, while you remain registered in Switzerland.

If you’re practising in Switzerland under an EU qualification and professional title, you should contact your local regulator for specific advice.

Contact the Swiss Bar Association for more information.

Data transfer and GDPR

You may need to take action. Find out if you need to take action by reading our guidance relating to the EEA and Switzerland

You may need to deal with the lead supervisory authority in Switzerland. Find out more from the Swiss Federal Data Protection and Information Commissioner (FDPIC).